Federal officials warned of potentially violent protests in all 50 state capitals this weekend, according to an internal FBI bulletin issued to law enforcement partners.
The source that made national news for over 72 hours prior? A small red flyer circulating on social media that read in part, “When democracy is destroyed, refuse to be silenced.” The poster also called for an “armed march on Capitol Hill and all state capitols,” cited the Founding Fathers, and encouraged people to “stand up for liberty.”
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Friday there was “no credible, local threat” in Minnesota ahead of Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration.
Like in most capital cities, law enforcement members and journalists outnumbered demonstrators Sunday in Saint Paul. Despite recent events by President Donald Trump’s supporters remaining peaceful, the Minnesota State Capitol will stay on lockdown with a significant law enforcement presence for the next several days.
In a pivotal moment at the MN State Capitol today, state troopers who were previously standing still moved in a straight line, shifting their position.
All six protesters remained undeterred. Dozens of reporters looked on. pic.twitter.com/vRCFTBWmHW
— Jared Goyette (@JaredGoyette) January 17, 2021
Sunday’s event organizer, Becky Strohmeier, leads Hold the Line MN, a group that’s staged rallies at the State Capitol and outside the home of Gov. Tim Walz.
Police came out in droves in Michigan, alongside a procession of National Guard Humvees and a 6-foot fence surrounding the Capitol building in Lansing. The chaos did not materialize.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) January 17, 2021
A few protesters gathered. There was no violence and no arrests.
Out in Nebraska, where the Capitol building remained open all weekend, a friend walked over Saturday and texted me, “Nobody is here. Too bad. I wanted to meet some like-minded folks and get some things off my chest.”
My cousin drove by the Ohio event — which alongside Michigan was supposed to be most dangerous — and reported “a guy in an Uncle Sam costume, a few dudes in fatigues with bullhorns, even a BLM sign, and otherwise quiet.”
There was also no violence, no arrests, and no effort to storm the Capitol in Columbus.
As of early afternoon Sunday, the Des Moines Register reported no protesters at the Iowa Capitol complex. Several reporters, police officers and photographers were there, while joggers ran outside of the building.
On a snowy day in Indianapolis, a former co-worker emailed me around 2 p.m., “no protesters at statehouse, Monument Circle or other downtown places where folks might gather. Mostly parents in town for a cheerleading competition taking selfies.”
He told me Indiana law enforcement officials had feared a violent uprising.
In notoriously left-wing Madison, armored vehicles and National Guard troops in full riot gear stood at the entrances to the Wisconsin State Capitol. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported at 1 p.m., “joggers and dog walkers accounted for most of the activity around the statehouse.”
MLK entrance to the Wisconsin State Capitol: pic.twitter.com/p7Gk6OUoAG
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) January 17, 2021
Despite barricades and guardsmen with long rifles at the Illinois Capitol building, no one showed up in Springfield.
To the west in Pierre, a group of 20 marched around the State Capitol building praying the Rosary in support of election integrity and for the rights of the unborn. Amid the peaceful gathering, members of the South Dakota National Guard, Capitol public safety team, and State Highway Patrol were present.
And lastly, all was quiet by the North Dakota State Capitol on a January weekend in Bismarck.
It seems the same story everywhere around the Midwest, and per the AP Sunday night, across America.
No arrests, no violence, no property damage and no insurrection to be found.